Kant on ID

It is interesting in the following text how Kant’s main argument against incursions of religion into science is a moral one: he accuses the “ID people” of being lazy, of refusing to take the time to understand standard science – which, if they did, the argument implies, they would accept as valid. This no longer perfectly fits the current situation as some IDers are (trying) to get degrees from standard universities – but the fundamental brunt of the argument remains, namely, that it is against the standards of human enquiry to ignore large swaths of science so as to erect one’s own puny little fort. According to Kant at least, the IDers should try to convince the (other) scientists that they are wrong, that is, be constructive.

From the Cambridge edition (6:8-9):

It rests with the [theologian-scholar], as a member of a public institution to which (under the name of “university”) all the sciences are entrusted for cultivation and protection against encroachments, whether to restrict the prerogatives of the [divine – ie pastor] so that his censorship shall not disrupt the field of the sciences. […] If we deviate from this rule things must finally come to the pass where they have already once been (for example, at the time of Galileo), namely that the biblical theologian, to humble the pride of the sciences and spare himself effort on them, might venture incursions even into astronomy or other sciences such as the ancient history of the earth, and [thus] take charge of all the endeavors of the human understanding – just like those peoples who, finding in themselves neither ability nor resolution enough to defend themselves against threats of attack, transform all about them into a wilderness.


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